A successful sport experience depends on parents playing the right role on the parent-athlete-coach team. Here are a few ‘Do’s and Dont’s’ for success. For more detailed information on how to become a winning parent, click here to visit the USA Swimming Website.
Don’t coach – Leave coaching to coaches. This includes pre-race psyching, motivation, after race critiquing, setting goals, enforcing additional cross training, interrupting practice, changing a swimmers events, etc.
Support the coach – Your coaches are the experts. They need your support for everyone to “win.”
Support the program – Get involved. Talk it up. Volunteer. Help out at meets, fundraisers, etc.
Be your child’s best fan – Support your child unconditionally. Do not withdraw love when your child performs poorly. Your child should not have to perform to win your love.
Support and root for all athletes on the team – Foster teamwork. Your child’s teammates are not the enemy. When they go faster than your child, your child now has a wonderful opportunity to improve.
Do not bribe or offer incentives – Your job is not to motivate. Leave this to the coaching staff. Bribes will distract your child from proper race concentration.
Take your concerns directly to the coach – If you have a problem with the coach, do not go to other parents to discuss it. Go straight to the coach involved. Talking behind the coach’s back will not get you what you want.
Understand and display appropriate meet behavior – Do not coach your child at a meet. Remember your child’s self-esteem and race performance is at stake. Be supportive and cheer but always be appropriate.
Monitor your child’s stress level at home – Keep an eye on your athlete to make sure he is handling stress effectively from the various activities in his life.
Monitor eating and sleeping habits – Be sure your child is eating the proper foods and getting adequate enough rest.
Help your child keep his priorities straight – Help your child maintain a focus on schoolwork, relationships and the other important things in life besides sports. Also’ if your child has made a commitment to one sport help him keep the priorities around this in mind.
“Reality Test” for your child – If a swimmer, for example, comes out of the pool with a personal best time and a last place finish, help her understand that this is a “win”. Help her keep things in their proper perspective including losses, disappointments and failures.
Keep your child’s chosen sport in perspective – The sport should not be larger than life for you. If your child’s performances elicit strong emotions, keep these away from him. Remember your relationship will continue with your children long after their competitive days are over. Keep your goals and needs out of your child’s sport.
Be an appropriate liaison to the coach – Keep the coach informed as to how your child is responding to the experience (when appropriate). If your child is having trouble with something that happened at practice or with something the coach said, help the child deal with it and if necessary, speak directly with the coach.
From USA Swimming’s Website By Dr Alan Goldberg
The Ten Commandments of Swim Parenting
I. Thou shall not impose thy ambitions on thy child.
II. Thou shall be supportive no matter what.
III. Thou shall not coach thy child.
IV. Thou shall only have positive things to say at a competition.
V. Thou shall acknowledge thy child’s fears.
VI. Thou shall not criticize the officials.
VII. Thou shall honor thy child’s coach.
VIII. Thou shall be loyal and supportive of thy team.
IX. Thy child shall have goals besides winning.
X. Thou shall not expect thy child to become an Olympian.